Mr. Pilot’s position is consistent with that of Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who maintained at two recent meetings on Internet governance in India in September 2012, that India was firmly against government control of the Internet while seeking consensus among multi-stakeholders to develop an appropriate model for the effective management of the Internet.
India had attracted criticism from the U.S. and from corporate stakeholders who want no dilution of the current ICANN-run system after it presented its UN-CIRP model for Internet governance last October at the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.
While the UN-CIRP essentially sought a shift from the existing ICANN-run model that is perceived to be too close to the U.S. government, many domestic stakeholders were critical of the lack of consultation in the run-up to the October 2011 statement. Signs of a rethink in the government were evident when senior officials in the ministries concerned refused to entertain questions on the genesis of the UN-CIRP proposal put to them by The Hindu over the past few months.
In the run-up to the Budapest meet, a UPA task-force held closed-door consultations involving the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Telecom and IT, industry bodies and others. Latha Reddy, the Deputy National Security Adviser, coordinated this effort.
On the issue of India’s earlier UN-CIRP model, Mr. Pilot also confirmed, “We are moving ahead with new proposals. While the existing system certainly needs to be changed, India’s position will include multi-stakeholder involvement and not inter-governmental bodies that may have been proposed in the past.”
The Indian government’s changed stance on Internet governance, though subtle, is expected to generate further attention at the upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan next month, where thousands of delegates representing governments, business, civil society, academia and media from across the world will collect to discuss the issue.